Smokin’ Spare Ribs 🍖 (3·2·1 Style)


So, recently I got a smoker attachment for my Char-Griller grill as a gift for Father’s Day. I tried it out today and the results we fantastic. I hit up the Google machine and some non-BBQ-ing Facebook groups for advice, tips, & tricks. (I imagine that they are as intense as guitar groups and I am just not ready yet.) I kept getting advice on the 3-2-1 method of smoking ribs. There are many variations of that technique. I think it went well. I tracked my progress with the #AiXeLsyDBBQ hashtag. Maybe I’ll do some more next time.

The quick and dirty of this method is…

  1. Get your coals to 225°-ish. (I used a chimney to avoid lighter fluid and it was awesome.) I added some wood chunks in the chimney, and on top once I spread on the coals. I did not soak the wood, but I may next time. Control the temp with your vents. Open a bit warms it up, closed cools it off… all because of airflow.
  2. Remove the silverskin, and put a nice rub on the ribs. I used one from the section of Walmart by all the grilling stuff.
  3. Put the ribs in the grill part if you have an attachment, or not on the heat for 3 hours.
  4. Pull the ribs out, wrap in heavy duty grilling foil, add some apple cider, apple juice, vinegar, pop, or whatever. I added some Straub. Unfortunately I made 2 racks and used the whole bottle, so I drank one myself.
  5. Put them in for 2 hours, smoking really isn’t necessary at this point if your wanna save your chunks or chips.
  6. Pull them out and unwrap them. I should have saved the drippings for the barbecue sauce on the side, but I did not. Shame on me. Do that.
  7. Sauce those ribs up. Liberally. Like, and obscene amount.
  8. Put them back on for 1 hour. (3-2-1… get it? Guys! They said the thing!)
  9. Always check with a thermometer for done-ness. They should be pretty damn done at this point, arguably overdone.
  10. EAT.

I know fall-off-the-bone isn’t competition style. A bone did pull right out of one rack, but the meat was in tact, not falling completely apart. I know the foil wrapping bit is then steaming not smoking… but, rules are made to be broken and a healthy dose of anarchy warms my little punk rock heart.

I would definitely do the ribs like this again. I may try a homemade sauce. This was pretty basic store-brand stuff from Shop ‘n Save with some dry mustard, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper, and Straub American Amber Lager. I may try different chips, or a smoker box, or to soak the wood. I even read some people eschew charcoal in favor of all wood once the fire is going.

I also threw on some baked potatoes, turkey legs, grilled veggies, and sauce on the attached burner.

Can’t wait to try out a turkey, pork loin, brisket, and whatever else I haven’t thought of. Mac n’ cheese? Jalapeño poppers? Meatloaf? Bacon?

What do you do in the smoker? What are your go to foods? Got any tips & tricks worth sharing? Do you click the tongs twice or three times? Before, during, or after?

Any excuse to drink beer and play with fire all day is a good excuse to me. Plus, the family was awed by my hereto unknown skills with smoked meats.

What music are you playing while you’re grilling or smoking?

This is the full adventure as told via Instagram:

Chick-fil-A’s response: “It’s not you, it’s me.”


Chick-fil-A wrote back to me, and sadly I predicted that they’d give me the “no unsolicited ideas” speech which is equivalent to the “it’s not you, it’s me” speech.  Shenanigans, I tell you.

From: Chick-fil-A CARES <chickfilacares@na.ko.com>
Date: Wed, Dec 26, 2012 at 8:09 PM
Subject: Chick-fil-A Response
To: <me@my.email.address>

Dear Valued Customer:

Thank you for taking the time to contact Chick-fil-A.  You are very important to us, and we appreciate your suggestion regarding the cup holders.  We hope the following information will be helpful.

Chick-fil-A is fortunate to have many loyal customers. Many of these fans take the time and effort to inquire about sharing their own ideas about ways they wish to see us improve – whether it is adding a specific new product, service or feature. We are grateful for our customers’ intent, and this motivates us to work even harder to keep improving.

Unfortunately, it is our corporate policy not to accept or consider any unsolicited creative ideas. This is a difficult decision because we realize that by following this policy, Chick-fil-A may miss out on some great ideas from our customers. We would rather miss out on some of these ideas than to risk any potential future misunderstanding should Chick-fil-A develop or already have developed a product, service, or feature that may seem similar to a customer’s idea.

We hope you will understand the reasons for our policy. You can view our Unsolicited Ideas Policy at www.chick-fil-a.com/Legal (under Submissions) for more information on this issue. Beyond this policy, we gladly welcome customers’ feedback about their restaurant experiences.

We appreciate your family’s loyalty, and we look forward to serving you all at Chick-fil-A for many years to come.  Again, thank you for your time and interest in Chick-fil-A.

Sincerely,

Cheala
Chick-fil-A CARES
Chick-fil-A…We Didn’t Invent The Chicken,
Just The Chicken Sandwich.
On the Web at www.chick-fil-a.com

P.S.  Please retain your ticket number.  This will help us locate your information should you need us again.

{ticketno:[8002084683]}

So, of course I wrote back…

From: <me@my.email.address>
Date: Thu, Dec 27, 2012 at 4:56 PM
Subject: Re: Chick-fil-A Response
To: Chick-fil-A CARES <chickfilacares@na.ko.com>

Hello Cheala,

Any idea how I can get my idea solicited?  I’m honestly not interested in monetary compensation, I just don’t want to spill my drinks.  Has anyone run this by Mr. Cathy?  He’s responded to my emails before, and I understand that he’s a shrewd business man as well as a great family man.  I’m sure he wouldn’t want drinks spilling on anyone… and that he’d like to pick up a free idea.

Thanks once again for your time & help!

My pleasure,

-Eric

Wonder if I’ll get a reply?  I just want a good cup holder.

Dear Chick-fil-A, I have an idea for you…


I plan to send this to Chick-fil-A, and we’ll see where it goes.  I just realized, I’ve written about Chick-fil-A several times here before.

Dear Chick-fil-A,

I have an idea for you.  I realize that as a giant corporation you probably don’t accept unsolicited ideas, but please don’t let that stop you from considering this idea.  I don’t expect monetary payment, maybe just free Chick-fil-A for life?  (Maybe a limit to once a week?)  Well, I guess I should present my idea before we start talking payment or barter.

This past Saturday I went to the Chick-fil-A in South Hills to grab some of those ridiculously delicious Chick-n-Minis™ for breakfast.  I went into the store to order take-out so I could grab some mayo packets, ketchup, straws, & napkins at the little condiment station.  I got two drinks because I was taking breakfast home to share with the wife.  I opted for your highly addictive sweet tea, and the wife had a Hi-C Fruit Punch.  The always courteous employees offered me a drink carrier, and I accepted.  I thought it would make life easier on the ride home.  I saw wrong.

I set the drink carrier on the floor of the passenger’s side of my truck.  As I backed out of the space, it fell over on to the long side.  Your drink lids are thankfully quite tight, but sadly not entirely waterproof.  I leaned over and placed the carrier & drinks upright again, this time turning the drink holder 90 degrees the other way thinking I had outsmarted the laws of physics and that it would stay put.  I could not have been more mistaken.  As I turned up a hill to go out the back of the parking lot, it fell again.  I believe I uttered something using vocabulary that you may not approve.  At the stop sign, I had to pick up the cups and give up by putting them in the truck’s drink holders.

As I drove home trying not to think about the drops of Hi-C & iced tea soaking into my floor mats, I wondered if there was a better way.  I certainly like your drink carriers much better than the egg-crate 4 space things that just let cups lean over all willy-nilly.  I came to think that your drink carriers just need feet.  I thought the feet may take some extra cardboard, and wondered i something could be done with the existing design.

At home, my thoughts were fueled by poultry protein.  I pulled out my pocket knife and started cutting as my wife looked at me like I was a crazy person (as she does quite often).  I explained what I was doing and why and she actually also thought it was a good idea.

You already have some nice sturdy cardboard.  Two well-placed quarter-circle cuts & maybe even a fold mark in the middle of the carrier would create some nice sturdy feet or “wings” or your drink carrier box without the need for a complete redesign or any additional material.  I tested it by trying to rock the mostly empty drinks back & forth on the kitchen table.  We had no spills.  I am willing to try some field tests if you’d like to move forward with this idea.  My truck’s floor mats can handle it.  Perhaps I can even use water instead of red & brown sugary liquids.

I’m sure we could talk to your box people & find out if this is doable for a reasonable price.  I think it will be as important & innovative as the new Heinz® Dip & Squeeze® packets!  I have some photos attached that I’m sure you will agree are quite illustrative of my design ideas.  Sadly, my pocket knife is a cheap dull one, so the cut looks more like a rip.  I believe you’ll see my intent though.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts, and am excited at the opportunity that lays before us.  It would be my pleasure to help make this dream a reality!

Eat Mor Chikin!
-Eric

And the attached photos:

So, there we have it.  I mean, most of my letters are plain goofy, and this has a goofy tone, but really… don’t you think this would work? Now, we wait for a response.

 

13 Guitars in 2013! ⓭⓭===:::


13 Guitars in 2013!

13 Guitars in 2013!

So the other night while dining at Panera Bread, I was talking to my wife about guitars… and how I want a USA map shaped guitar painted like an old map with the pastel blue, yellow, green, & pink (red?) states.  Then, I said I needed 3 more guitars to have an “even” 13 by the year 2013.  With 13 being my favorite number… and us having a baby in 2013, it seemed like a good idea.  She laughed and rolled her eyes.  I said I could set up a Facebook page & get a million likes then she’d have to let me buy 3 more guitars.  She said that a million was too many, & suggested 13,000.

Like all good jokes, I took it too far & started a page.  Can I get 13,o00 likes by 2013 so I can add 3 more guitars to my collection?  I need 13 in ’13!

So, spread the link if you’re so inclined… and we’ll see if I can get 1300, let alone 13,000.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/13-Guitars-in-2013/209290145871186

♡ Happy Birthday Bethany! ♡


Generally I blog about goofy stuff except for food allergies, and not much here takes a serious tone.  If you’re reading this, I assume you already know that.  A bunch has been going on with life lately, we’ve been through a whirlwind of ups & downs as things get increasingly hectic.  I’ll spare you the details as my good friends & family probably already know all the stuff we have going on anyway.  At any rate, that’s not the focus of this blog any way… it’s just the spark behind it.

The focus of this one is my wife, Bethany.  Her Birthday is today, and with it approaching while we have many other things going on… I didn’t want it to get lost in the shuffle.  I decided to make note and wish her a happy birthday here.  (Someone might have to tell her about this… I don’t think she reads it much because she hears most of my ranting live without the added benefit of a filter.)

Archery Camp 1997We’ve known each other for many many years and originally there was not even a remote spark of interest.  We have a wide age gap, and I was a counselor when she was a camper at our church camp, Living Waters.  I’m sure we talked, joked, and laughed… I even helped instruct her in Archery.  Sadly for the reader, nothing creepy was going on.

Many years later we went to dinner at Ritter’s as old friends catching up (thanks to AIM of all things), and something sparked there.  We generally don’t have much in common.  We have wildly different personalities.  We go together perfectly.

Beans N' CheeseI’m glad I have found my other half.  We like to laugh, and goof around with each other.  We meet on common ground where things are important.  Neither of us sleeps well when the other isn’t in the bed.  We do enjoy cooking together, entertaining, road trips, Flogging Molly, the RamonesJohnny Cash, & Willie Nelson.  I got her quoting Star Wars, she has me inexplicably interested in Glee.  We both like antiques, have an appreciation for the history of things.

We both have large & close extended families.  We all fit in all around.  That’s important to both of us.  We’re both still actively involved with camp, it’s a very special place to us on many levels any more.  We learn more about each other & ourselves with each passing year.

Bethany has brought out my sensitive side and I have given her a healthy dose of geekery & anarchy.  I’m proud of her for going to school and advancing her career.  I’m in awe of how she works with her special needs campers during recreation camp in the summer.  It takes incredible amounts of patience and mental strength.

She supports my crazy punk rock band, guitar acquisition habit, Batman & Star Wars obsessions, and puts up with lots of the History Channel and Discovery Channel.  She looks out for me with my crazy shellfish allergy, and takes care of me whenever I’m not feeling well or even if I’m just having a bad day.  She has gotten over rolling her eyes at my skull coffee mug.

So to Bethany, my wife & best friend, I want to say Happy Birthday!  I also want to tell you how much I love you and how glad I am that we are who we are.  I am a better man for for knowing & marrying you.  You are my favorite, and I’m glad we found each other.

♥

¿ɹoɟ ןnɟʞuɐɥʇ noʎ ǝɹɐ ʇɐɥʍ ‘os


Cover of "Cloak & Dagger"

Cover of Cloak & Dagger

OK, the last post was serious.  This one can be goofy …ridiculous even.  Help me out in the comments.

  • I’m thankful for my Dewey Decibel FlipOut because it hurts people’s heads.
  • I’m thankful that I can tell my wife to get in the kitchen and make me a sandwich, and she laughs & knows I’m not sexist.  It’s even better when I do something like this in the grocery store in front of elderly people.
  • I’m thankful that I don’t live any closer to the ocean.
  • I’m thankful that people read this blog, and pretend to find it entertaining.
  • I’m thankful that I’ve never purchased a Clarks album.
  • I’m thankful that I’m old enough to be like “back in my day” to you younglings.
  • I’m thankful that Al Gore invented the internet.
  • I’m thankful that I got to see Guns N’ Roses live before they imploded, and the Ramones before they quit & died.
  • I’m glad that I can remember the cold war.  Russians were much more fun than terrorists.  Cloak & Dagger or The Experts anyone?
  • I’m thankful that posting photos of food on Facebook is a ridiculously friend polarizing action.
  • I’m thankful that Boston Market is funny.
  • I’m thankful that I’m not these people or McDonald’s.
  • I’m thankful for kitten calendars.
  • I’m thankful that I’m not the person who bags giblets at the turkey factory, then shoves them in the turkey’s nether-regions.  (My apologies to those who are that person.)
  • I’m thankful for your eventual comments.

So, what are you thankful for?


OK, I do a lot of goofy stuff here on the blog.  I tend to rant about things, as this forum lends itself easily to that.  Hopefully those of you that know me IRL know I’m not always a grumbly curmudgeon.  I use ranting as humor, not as a way of life.

Tonight as this posts, we’ll be cleaning up the clutter, we’ve already chopped the bread for stuffing, and we’re probably prepping the turkey… but let’s not forget what’s important this time of year; It’s a great time to take stock of things, and be thankful for all that we have.  You can thank a higher power, karma, yourself, or other people in your life who have helped or influenced you.  When I think about it, I have a lot of things to be thankful for.  As you get ready for the holiday crunch, anticipated gatherings, getting the place clean or packing the car for a road trip… think about what you’re thankful for.  Pardon my foray into the mushy.

A wife that puts up with my shenanigans.  We can be goofy together, and it makes life fun.  We have different points of view on pretty much everything, so we’re always (OK, most of the time) looking at things from more than one perspective.  She supports my Batman and Star Wars obsessions, and I hate to say I’ve learned to like Glee.  That’s how we roll.

A big family.  I’m an only child, but I’m always surrounded by & get along well with my extended family… now extended to my wife’s family since they’re all also close-knit.  I’m thankful that things like Facebook exist to keep us all in contact.  I’m not a phone person, but I can do FB to keep tabs on the fam.  I’m thankful that when we get together at Grandma’s this year, we’ll be throwing dinner rolls across the dining room at each other, and discussing wildly inappropriate things at the dinner table.

A band that is pretty ridiculous.  It’s cool to have a band that’s relaxed, and seems to get things done.  I have fun playing, and I hope people have fun listening and watching.  For me, it’s a creative outlet that can’t be matched.  To have the opportunity to write stuff, gig out, and now to get an “actual” album pressed & produced is a big deal to me.  When I say relaxed, I don’t meant to convey that a lot of effort doesn’t go into what we do… it’s just that we don’t stress about it.  It’s difficult to find a group of people on compatible levels of taste, work ethic, stage presence, talent, and most of all personality.  I think we have this one right.

Friends for the long-haul.  I know a lot of cool people.  I’ve met them through camp, church, rocking out with various bands, jobs, and all even these things that we used to call “message boards” back in the 1900’s.  There are friends I see often, some I see less so, but I think we’re all solid on where we stand, no matter the time interval that passes between hanging out & catching up.  You know who you are.

That’s just a few of the plethora of things I have to be thankful for… without even getting into material possessions, and resisting the urge to be a smart-ass.

Maybe I’ll add some more in the comments or another blog later.

What are you thankful for?  (Real sentiments and smart-assedness encouraged.)

And now, the stuffing…

And now, the stuffing…

The path is clear


GuitarSquid is awesome.  Sometimes, I wonder if I have too many guitars (or if there is such a thing).  Happily, all my answers quickly led to “Buy more guitars.”

GuitarSquid.com | Flow Chart: Do You Have Too Many Guitars?

GuitarSquid.com | Flow Chart: Do You Have Too Many Guitars?

It’s apparently as simple as this, my friends:

Got a wife? → Yes → How many pairs of shoes does she own? → 10+ → Buy more guitars.

I really do need an amp before another guitar though…

You can never have too many guitars

Impossible.

☠ Good Halloween Movies?


The Monster Squad

Monster Squad

I have a bunch of stuff I wanna blog about, but I need the time to sit down & do it.  [I have some goofy World (and Lunar) Domination ones coming up, some half started… that seems to be what grabs more readers/comments.]

You’ll help write this blog post for me.  If you’re seeing the link on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ … please reply in the comments section here at the blog, not in the comments stream at Facebook or Google+, & not an @ through Twitter.  If you’re logged in on Facebook or Twitter you can comment down below using either account!

This one is relevant & easy to knock out because of the time of year.  I was trolling through Netflix on the Wii the other night, trying to find a good Halloween-ish movie to watch.

Cover of "Shaun of the Dead"

Shaun of the Dead

My wife is scared easily, and wasn’t in the mood for House of 1000 Corpses-like gore or Alienlike “Ah!” jumps.  (I still can’t get her to watch Silence of the Lambs.)  I was thinking The Crow, maybe Monster Squad or Shaun of the Dead.

I thought of a bunch that weren’t available for streaming, like Wolf and Teen Wolf or even Beetlejuice.  I found myself unable to think of campy other spooky fun.

Help me build a go-to list of all of us who are too old to remember good scary/funny/creepy movies like Ghostbusters, Batman, Zombieland, Fido, Edward Scissorhands, etc.

Roku XDS

Roku

While we’re on it, does a streaming service other than Netflix offer these movies, or am I going to have to start trolling the cheap DVD/Bluray bin at Walmart?  Maybe I just need to get a device like Roku that streams Amazon movies.

What movies make you want to mentally escape in front of the blue glow of your TV under a warm blanket on a cool October day?

Mellon Arena – Ticket Sales FAIL.


From: Eric Carroll me@myemailaddre.ss
To: Customer Service Mellon Arena info@mellonarena.com
Sent: Mon, November 30, 2009
Subject: Horrible seats for Star Wars: In Concert

Hello Mellon Arena Customer Service & Ticket Sales,

I am taking the time to write to you this evening to express my disappointment in the sale of our seats for yesterday’s Star Wars: In Concert event at the Mellon Arena.

While I understand that we purchased the “cheap” $33 seats (two of which somehow magically totaled $93.40 instead of $66.00 for various dubious Ticket Master fees — including a “printing fee” in which I used my own paper & ink — which are not your fault), I feel that your integrity is to be called into question when considering the vantage-point from exactly where we were expected to sit throughout the show.

I would think that you would be familiar enough with your own venue to know that the seats in section E13, row M are blocked from seeing anything above a certain height at the other end of the house thanks to the lower edge of section F hanging directly above us (and directly in our field of vision). I would also think that you would know what this height is, and that the screen coming in for this particular show was being touted as “a three-story-tall, high-definition LED super-screen — one of the largest ever put on tour.

Apparently I am quite wrong, my friends.

Please see the attached image from my cell phone so you can fully appreciate the vantage point from which we were expected to view the “live music and film elements … synchronized in order to create a full multi-media, one-of-kind Star Wars experience.” You’ll note the bluish-white line behind the orchestra that is the very bottom of the giant partially-visible screen where the movie clips played.

I can tell you that the ushers in our area got an ear-full from several other angry concert-goers (including my wife who had purchased the tickets for me as an early Christmas present). Our row had cleared out of all but 4 people by the time the 2nd song had started. I would have left also, but the concert had started, and I wasn’t about to miss any of what I could actually see by running around like a madman trying to find a seat.

I did notice several rows almost empty down to the right of the floor, while seats to the back & sides were full… surely this is a commentary on the outrageous prices charged for the show? It only made it all the more infuriating that a seat with a better vantage point sat empty during the performance.

In lieu of trying to “sneak down” into the “better” seats, at intermission, we made the trek down & back up to section F and asked an usher there for permission to sit in any unoccupied seats. We were pointed to some open seats, and several others filtered in around us with the same idea as the show came closer to starting again.

From this height, the speaker array on the right still blocked a good portion of the screen, but at least it wasn’t cut in half… and from here, we could actually see the “laser show” being projected on to the ceiling.

While I found the concert itself and exhibits throughout the arena to be an exhilarating experience, the full multimedia-experience in the arena was sadly stained by the poor choice of Mellon Arena to sell seats with a substandard view of the main event.

I have been to countless events over the years at the Mellon (& formerly the Civic) Arena — from concerts, to Penguins Games, to circuses, to I think even a truck & tractor pull with Bigfoot & USA-1 when I was a tiny young lad. They have all been great memories… and this is the only time that I have felt wronged by the venue.

I hope that you take these thoughts into consideration when selling seats for the remainder of shows throughout the last standing days of the arena. You’re making memories for people, please try to make sure that they’re positive ones, and that they’re not marred by poor logistics. I’d ask for our money (or half of our money) back if I thought it would get me anywhere, but I am more concerned about the experience than the money.

Thank you for your time, I hope that this is passed on to the appropriate parties, and I do look forward to a response.

Regards,
-Eric Carroll
me@myemailaddre.ss